The Book of Revelation speaks of the Devil being vanquished and cast into a pit of fire and brimstone at the end of the world.
But the Church of England has consigned Satan to a decidedly less dramatic fate – being quietly designated as an optional extra.
Instead of requiring an apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil, the move was approved in a polite show of hands at the Church’s decision making body, the General Synod, which has been meeting in Westminster.
Members voted to approve a new alternative baptism liturgy with all references to the Devil removed as part of a drive to make services “accessible” to those unused to attending church.
Following a consultation process, a committee of liturgical experts ruled that the inclusion of Satan as “personified evil” was “unhelpful” as it was likely to be “misunderstood” by young people.